Why are there so many workouts that are almost the same?

I am pretty new to TR and I am on the medium volume general build plan. I just did Baird+6 today and I saw in a couple of weeks I do Bashful+6. Looking at the little picture they look identical. Reading the details I see they are identical except Bashful has 8 minutes of recovery between sets while Baird has 5 minutes. The interval efforts differ by only 2% of FTP. The total TSS are different by 3. So, I looked around at more of the workouts and I see that there are many other groups that are almost the same. Why? I don’t understand? Is there really a need for both a Baird and a Bashful? Do they really have that much of a different effect? Or is it just padding the list of available workouts? When and why would I chose one over the other? I’m not criticizing. I am just trying to understand how this stuff works.

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Why don’t you do them and compare notes?

That 2% diff and/or that 3min inter-set recovery could be the difference between requiring backpedals to finish or not. When on the edge, that 2% might be enough to break you. Those extra 3minutes might make it so you can actually finish the next set. Etc…

Basically, while they look quite similar, the slight differences might make a difference the difficulty level for riders who are right on the edge. For some both will feel the same which could be hard or easy depending on fitness. Also, there is a mental component. No matter the workout, 8minutes seems like a LOT of rest to me, while 5min seems about normal.

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The workouts are designed to progress in difficulty as you progress through a plan. So gradually increasing work intervals and gradually decreasing rest intervals. If you just look at workouts on their own they may look pretty similar but look at where they fall in a specific plan and it should make more sense. Also compare the IF of the workouts and that will guide you in level of relative difficulty

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My guess is that the medium volume plans require you to do back-to-back sessions. The building level of fatigue during the plan could crush many TR users if the intensity increased too much.

Keeping the fatigue in mind, that workout might look similar now but it could be a real challenge when you get there.

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Have you met any cyclists before?

We’re a pretty pedantic and demanding bunch…

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The SSB programs progressively build in their demands so the effort level might be the same, but the intervals longer every week. It might seem like small steps, but it means you get a really nice progressive improvement in how long you can hold a given power target. I used to do my own training plans and basically did the same sessions every week and whilst they helped me improve, it was nowhere near as effective as the TR approach (IMO).

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Trust me, when you’re right on the limit, panting like a dog, chewing your handlebars in desperation to get to the end of an interval, even 30 seconds less (or more) of a rest valley or 1% more or less of your FTP wattage can make a BIG difference.

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Just an anecdotal experience, if I only had 5 min of break between the intervals in Bashful I wouldn’t have completed it, the 2nd to last interval was so fucking taxing I were inches away from giving up.

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It’s all about progression… sometimes the smallest of differences in rest time or effort level is the difference of nailing the workout or the workout nailing you. For me personally, I use past workout as benchmarks… if I completed a workout with slightly more rest or a little less intensity, it gives me the confidence for the harder work the next week.

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This was totally me yesterday. Took on Pilot and just about survived the 8x2 min vo2 sets. I would have been fine at 90s.

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Those two are more different in the low volume plans. Bashful ramps up to a target of 125% which is a big difference from all at 120% the week before.

"I see that there are many other groups that are almost the same. Why? I don’t understand? Is there really a need for both a Baird and a Bashful? "

No there isn’t. I personally feel that the TR library is ridiculously over-populated with workouts. Many are very similar and having so many to wade through is cumbersome at best. Sorting by category (endurance, VO2, etc) does little to help since many have multiple tags. I do find the variations on a particular workout to be helpful. I would think that a few dozen workouts with associated variations would be more than adequate. You can always create your own workouts if you have some special needs.

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I understand the idea that on any given day a few percent of intensity of a few more seconds of rest might make a difference between success and failure. However, I still have a hard time seeing how having a zillion choices when you set up a training plan helps. The reason is for me I can’t necessarily tell that I am that close to the edge until I actually start a ride. Things like how I slept, ate, recovered, etc. make the difference between whether I can do 120% or 125% of FTP in an interval. Or whether 5 minutes or six minutes of recovery is needed. So I almost think that having fewer actual workouts, say Baird at 120% of FTP, and then have the instructions for the day say “do this workout at 105%” would be a lot less confusing. We already do that today when we can’t complete a workout as planned. The on screen instructions say to dial it down 5% at a time or something like that. And from what I read in other posts a lot of people do that. One thing that would be nice is a button that that says something like “increase duration of current interval X%” . Then, if you felt that you need more recovery, you could click the button and get another minute for this particular interval.

In my personal experience, choice is a great thing. I did Baird +2 this morning after doing Baird last week. The difference in the extra 30 seconds “on” in +2 made for an entirely different experience (harder). If looking for or substituting VO2 workouts the FTP % and on/off durations are all variables I look for.

I am in the midst of my 3rd year with TR, with 300 TR sessions completed (and I am not even a super user). I have done Base/Build/Specialty a number of times for different reasons. I like seeing new workouts - even if variations of the same workouts – different over/under curves, different VO2 durations, those with endurace rides at the end, race simulations, etc… For me it keeps me interested and well-rounded.

Also remember, TR has 1000s of users who all have their own use case. We are all n=1.

PS – I do agree that an improved search capability would be great - for both workouts and past rides.

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IMO, this is why the workouts that appear to be very similar on screen can actually be very different once your in there doing the work.

If the recover valleys are shorter, they’re shorter for a reason. Having the option to increase them only serves to decrease the value of that session. Rather than the VO2 intensity ramping up or the time spent at VO2 increasing, your ability to recover is being tested.

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This seems like a significantly more complex solution than simply having a different workout. The current way has more workouts in the TR database, your way means that people have to fiddle with most of their workouts before they can start. What if you forget to do it? Or misread the text?

This would not be good, and would encourage users to effective change a lot of workouts to into “junk miles”. Instead of really pushing yourself to get over the last interval, you can just a hit a button to increase your rest.

Customization is very good for coaches or experienced athletes who want to improve already very good results. It’s not at all good for the average athlete who wants to follow a plan and improve fitness.

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So there are too many workouts, but then you can make more if you have special needs? These two sentences don’t seem to compute.

Part of the library build out has occurred as a result of @chad learning more over time. For those that have been around for 4+ years the old plans have changed significantly as TR/chad have both learned more about what works and what doesn’t from an effectiveness perspective. None of the old workouts have been removed from the library, they are still there to be searched and found, but they may not be part of the plan.
But that is also what a library is by its very nature, it’s a place to collect and sort things. If you want prescription follow a plan. Could the sort feature be improved, sure, but reducing the number of workouts will likely piss off just as many people as having too many workouts in the library annoys.

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  • I think point is that it is easier to make “exactly” what you want (for a particular need) than search and filter through the 2,000+ workouts to find one that meets your need.

And the benefit of Tr is that you can in fact do both. But limiting library won’t address that.

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Agreed. I like all the options in the current library for my needs.

It takes just a bit of work using the search filters and some key text to find a particular workout in the catalog.